A Skylit Drive – Adelphia

adelphiaArtist: A Skylit Drive
Album: Adelphia
Genre: Screamo
Label: Fearless

I’ve been on the fence for along time about A Skylit Drive. Wires didn’t really grab me outside of a few tracks and outside of their hair, the live show left me wanting a bit more. However, it seems over the four times I’ve seen them in the last year, the kids supporting the band seems to consistently grow each and every time, so they must be doing something right. It seems the world is ready to welcome A Skylit Drive into the big time, but is their new record Adelphia, which just hit streets this week, the album to take them to the next level?

“Prelude To A Dream” kicks the record off in high gear with what seems to be an atmospheric intro track that quickly becomes a chug heavy battle anthem to lead us into battle and the record itself. Production wise, everything sounds fantastic right off the bat and continues throughout. The vocals of Michael “Jag” Jagmin, who generally sounds a bit too high and nasally for my taste, is much more controlled here and it really sounds nice. for example, I feel “Those Cannons Could Sink A Ship” only works on this record due to the control Jag has in his voice. I mean musically it’s a great track, but nothing too new for the act, but Jag’s slight adjustments to his approach takes everything to a new level.

Like most acts in this scene, A Skylit Drive dances on a fine line between being interesting and being something I’ve heard a million times before. “Heaven,” a truly heavy track, sounds much like a b-side from the group’s last release. Similarly, “The Children of Adelphia” starts off fresh, but once the hook hits, we’re back to simplification and worn road. However, for the most part, the album does find the band pushing forward.

“Eva The Carrier,” the first track fans got to hear off the record, is one of the overall standouts. I think it shows a lot of growth with structure and overall composition musically for the band. Additionally, and possibly most remarkable on the whole record, “Thank God It’s Cloudy Cause I’m Allergic To The Sunlight” offers some of the most interesting accent and time signature workings ever found in this scene. It’s a freight train from start to finish, but with many layers and random melodies shoved in together to create a truly unique track that will leave you amazed.

In addition to all the heavy, Skylit does attempt to change/slow things up a bit, specifically on “Air The Enlightenment.” Jag’s vocals are truly stretched to the limits here and the band dives deep into the use of electronics, but it’s all for the greater good. It may be one of the shortest tracks on the entire album, but it’ll leave an impact, I promise you.

I started listening to this record as a music fan outside the band’s bubble of fans and by the end of the record I was bum-rushing the gates to join. Adelphia is a ray of hope in what has become a faceless/soulless scene. In fact, dare I say, it’s the best album the “Hot Topic” scene has put in front of me all year. If you like screamo, but hate the cliche’ sound of most modern bands, check this out, I think you’ll find yourself smiling and feeling refreshed.

Score: 8/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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